Sustainable Development: The Role of Scientific Literature in Dutch Municipal Spatial Planning

  •  Lucas Vroom    
  •  Fenje van Straalen    


The objective of this article is to show how Dutch municipalities use scientific literature about sustainable development in their spatial planning policies and processes. The approach to this research is twofold. First, we conducted a literature review that summarized the most important discourses in the international and Dutch literature. Secondly, we interviewed Dutch municipalities and asked them how they interpret and define sustainable (spatial) development, how they keep up with the quick developments surrounding sustainability and how they approach sustainable development in their own planning practices. Results show that many municipalities claimed to interpret sustainable development in a broad manner and claim to use a sufficient amount of scientific literature, but their planning practices suggest otherwise. We conclude that the trichotomy ‘international scientific literature – national professional literature - planning practice’ is not self-evident within Dutch sustainable (spatial) development.

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